The explosive nature of the eruptions that produced rhyolitic tephras resulted in the ash being distributed over large areas. This ash, within a few thousand years after deposition, incorporated relatively large amounts of environmental water (up to 3.5%) into the glass structure. This hydration water is shown to retain its original deuterium concentration through time, and because the deuterium content of precipitation has been used for climate characterization, the hydration water, which is related to ancient precipitation, can be used to investigate ancient climates. Based on the analysis of ash samples dated at 13,700, 11,200 and 8500 BP, the climate in the states of Washington and Montana may have been about 3-6??C cooler at the end of the Pleistocene or Early Holocene than the present. We observe no change in the deuterium concentration of surface waters, and hence climate, in that region post-8500 BP. ?? 1992.